Gavin Floyd said he felt optimistic about tonight's start against the St. Louis Cardinals thanks to an alleged "minor mechanical" change. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything different from the results.
Floyd, who entered the game with a 10.52 ERA over his last five starts, couldn't bring that number back to single-digit territory. The Cardinals knocked him out of the game in the fifth innings, a combination of the Cardinals' middle-of-the-order might and Floyd's inability to close out an inning.
Four of the five Cardinals runs came with two outs. In the third, Allen Craig (2-for-3, one walk, three runs scored) doubled after a double play cleared the bases. On an 0-1 fastball, David Freese (2-for-4, one run, three RBI) crushed a homer to right-center, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead.
Two innings later, Floyd should have escaped the inning when he got Yadier Molina to hit a bouncer to third with runners on first and second and two outs. Unfortunately, it was hit too softly, and Orlando Hudson needed to make a perfect throw on a barehanded charging play to have a chance of retiring Molina. Instead, it pulled Paul Konerko off the bag to extend the inning.
The next batter, Matt Adams, worked the count full before lining a single to right-center, giving the Cardinals a 5-0 lead and knocking Floyd out of the game.
That's a little bit of bad luck, but some good luck in the second inning prevented an earlier collapse. Floyd intentionally walked Adron Chambers to put runners on the corners and bring Jake Westbrook to the plate. Problem was, he walked Westbrook with a full-count slider. Fortunately, Rafael Furcal was mired in an 0-for-forever slump, and grounded out to second to end the inning.
(Floyd also walked Westbrook in the fourth, just to really make his mark.)
Westbrook held the Sox in check long enough to force them to play from way behind. He retired the first 12 men he faced with an assortment of sinkers, and after Paul Konerko canceled the postgame show with a line-drive single to right, Alex Rios bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to immediately cancel it.
But once they got their first hit on the board, the Sox looked better against Westbrook. In the sixth, they combined for some two-out magic of their own. Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham strung together singles, and came around on Adam Dunn's express-lane homer to the batter's eye in center field, cutting the lead to 5-3. Unfortunately, that's where the lead remained.
- Zach Stewart avoided making a bad situation worse, pitching a scoreless inning after the Sox scored three runs. He even pitched around Konerko's first error of the year, a hard grounder by Daniel Descalso that ate him up.
- Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton each added a scoreless inning, completing a fine night for the bullpen. Thornton picked off a runner.
- Alex Rios was ejected in the ninth after his flyout to center field. First base umpire Jeff Nelson said Rios didn't hold up on the first pitch to put Rios behind in the count, and Rios let him know that after rounding first base. A few words, and he was ejected.
- Hawk Harrelson closed the broadcast by saying that for the first time in 12 tries, the White Sox lost an interleague series in a National League park.